Updated plan to ensure all kids ‘feel sense of belonging’

York Regional Council has approved a plan that will, among other things, help implement the national child-care system that’s often referred to as ‘$10 a day child care.’

The 2024 to 2027 Child Care Early Years Service System Plan will support the Region and service providers adapt to changes required as part of implementation of the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, the national child care system for children aged up to six years.

It will also help provide “consistent direction” to the delivery of children’s services and ensure the Region collaborates with service providers to maintain and expand the child care and early years sector so all children “feel a sense of belonging” and are able to fully participate in programming, according to a Report of the Commissioner of Community and Health Services.

“Children are our future. The Child Care and Early Years Service System Plan will support children and their families in accessing services now and in the future,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with service providers and community partners to offer a wide range of critical programs and activities for children.”

York Region is one of 47 Service System Managers mandated by the province to plan, oversee and manage child care and early years services for children up to 12 years. “Research and data show positive early childhood experiences have a lasting impact on children,” City of Vaughan Regional Councillor and Chair of Community and Health Services Gino Rosati says. “The plan’s priority areas and actions will build a more accessible and inclusive child care and early years system for all children and families.”

About 73,000 children and their families benefitted from programs and services provided by or contracted through York Region last year, according to the Report of the Commissioner of Community and Health Services. Services are delivered through a network of not-for-profit, private agencies and other partners. In addition to its role in managing funding, program eligibility and service planning, the Region directly delivers programs for children with special needs.

The new plan builds on the vision and priorities established in the 2020 to 2023 plan and was developed in consultation with school boards, child-care operators, community leadership tables, local cities and towns, regional staff across departments, and community agencies serving children, including mental health.

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